Tuesday, January 25, 2011

621 Gallery Group Art Show review

(Originally published in the FSView on Jan. 17)

The 621 Gallery at Railroad Square recently hosted a Florida State University Adjunct Faculty Group Art Show, featuring 23 artists. The opening reception was held on Friday, Jan. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m.

I had met Kelly previously while she was working on a piece. [The sculpture] is amazing; I really loved it.

— Cassandra Whitehead Art Education grad student at FSU

The exhibit showcased a variety of styles and media including painting, knitted crafts, soft sculpture and photography from artists including: Charles Badland, Ananda Balingit-Lefils, Kelly Boehmer, Jacquelin Boulanger, Dave Breault, Chuck Carbia, Po-Chi Chu, Michelle McKnight Davis, Ljiljana Obradovic-Edmiston, Amy Fleming, Phil Gleason, Laurie Godfrey, Matt Gordan, Linda Hall, Christian Harkness, DeDe Harter, Cynthia Hollis, Delaina LeBlanc, Leo McMillan, Jason Orman, Pamela Theis, Ed Toner and Jeff Whipple.

Po-Chi Chu's "White and Flawless Fortune Cookies" featured an intricately sculpted female face, similar to a porcelain geisha.

The sculpture literally spewed fortune-a long tape of attached Chinese cookie fortunes came out of the mouth of the figure, down the length of the canvas and wall beneath it, creating a flower shape on top of a black square covered with water on the ground.

The makeshift reflective pool and the flower, along with a scattering of long, pointed wooden sticks all created the appearance of a sand mandala, sans sand.

The sticks played along with the Chinese subject matter.

DeDe Harter's "Rec Room Diary" featured two drawn aerial blueprints of the inside of a house. Each portion of the home contained an annotation, designed as a biographical grid. A dog, kids playing with dolls and a mom donning an apron skirt, suggest a stereotypical nuclear family. The TV is drawn showcasing numerous commercial jingles along with the lyrics to show theme songs.

Ed Toner presented a more solemn subject matter with his "Blue Babies." A "blue baby" is the term given to a child born with cyanosis, a condition that makes skin appear bluish, due to the presence of deoxygenated hemoglobin near the skin surface. In Toner's piece, the blue babies, drawn alongside Manhattan cocktails, seem to suggest babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. The contrast between the harshness and softness of the babies echo Marlene Duma's 'Die Baba' from 1985.

Linda Hall's "The Great Water Between Us" consists of two soft sculpture dolls with umbilical cords made of colorful cloth and yarn, hung facing each other on the walls.

"It's always interesting; I like the fabrication," Tallahassee resident Tom Jones said. "It forges ahead with our mythologies-the umbilical cords are left hanging, like baggage."

Located at the front and center of the gallery was a large sculpture featuring colored fabrics, small screens with videos of eyes, a wooden bridge leading up toward the large, dinosaur-like figures, and featuring a softly sung song, wind and ocean sounds, which could be heard by picking up headphones that were placed on a stand next to the figure.

"[The work] is a collaboration with Chuck Carbia," co-creator of "Crying Time," Kelly Boehmer said.

Carbia shared the story behind their piece.

"It's a self-portrait of us fighting each other," he said. "We're both artists, we've been in a relationship for a long time."

Boehmer and Carbia, who had previously engaged in country music performances, said the sculpture was definitely country-inspired. "Crying Time" is also the title of a 1964 Buck Owens song.

"We're trying to keep it hopeful, so we'll call it 'We're Gonna Hold On,'" Carbia said, referring to another country song by the same name, written by the country duet George Jones and Tammy Wynette, who were married at the time of the single's 1973 release.

The audio included along with "Crying Time" seemed to recall "Lowlands," the 2010 Turner Prize winning "sound sculpture" produced by Scottish artist Susan Phillipsz. The 16th century lament, "Lowlands Away," tells of a woman who dreamed of her dead lover, previously drowned at sea. It is the first sound installation to win the coveted [and notorious] Turner prize.

"I had met Kelly previously while she was working on a piece," art education grad student at FSU Cassandra Whitehead said. "[The sculpture] is amazing; I really loved it."

621 Gallery is not-for-profit contemporary art space featuring local and regional artists located at 621 Industrial Drive, at the Railroad Square Art Park.

For more information on this exhibition, call 224-6163.

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I love to read about linguistics, behavioral economics, theory and philosophy. I listen to music some might call outdated, write satirical and high testosterone plays, consume too much caffeine and ruthlessly defend modern and contemporary art.